DISA calls on small businesses for spectrum innovation

Providing crucial capabilities such as radio spectrum technology is the key for small businesses that want to win contracts with the Defense Information Systems Agency, said several speakers at an event that focused on how small companies can work with DISA.

"Spectrum is becoming a very big deal to the Department of Defense," said Ralph Puckett, deputy director of DISA's Defense Spectrum Organization.

"Dynamic spectrum access is where we really need innovation," he added.

For example, defending against improvised explosive devices in Iraq might incorporate technology for jamming radio spectrum, but DOD officials want innovative ways to defeat IEDs without negatively affecting their own operations.

It might seem obvious, but businesses should evaluate whether their technologies would work anywhere in the world, Puckett said. The laws governing spectrum use vary from country to country. DOD officials need systems that will work in any country under any rules.

Dynamic spectrum access systems are likely the answer, he said. The technology makes spectrum available when it is needed then releases it when it is no longer needed.

Small businesses should also pay attention to what the commercial market offers "because that is what we are looking for," said Sharon Jones, director of small and disadvantaged business utilization at DISA.

The agency is striving to break the $1 billion mark in providing opportunities for small businesses, so Jones encouraged companies to make the most of their presentations to the agency. They should focus on the capabilities they can deliver and not on the company's background and history.

"Always have a 'wow' factor," she said. "When someone wants to hear more about what you're offering, you've hit it."

AFCEA International's Northern Virginia Chapter sponsored the event.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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